Follow our Facebook page for lots of excellent practical support and guidance on mental health and well-being issues.

There are some great resources out there on the web which are often very visual and can be taken in at a glance (see the examples above). We try to post information which we feel will be particularly helpful to our clients.

This information is not, of course, a substitute for the deeper understanding, self-exploration and reflective thinking that goes on in a counselling session, or which may come from reading a good book.

But it can serve as a useful reminder of the things which know we should be doing to help ourselves, presenting information in a simple, accessible and engaging way.

Recent posts have covered: the importance of emotions, ways of dealing with upsetting world events, tips on self-care and what you should be expecting from your relationships.

Our Facebook page also includes news about us: our book recommendations, our ways of working with clients and the resources we are developing to use in counselling sessions.

  • Julian & Michaela

The ability to be kind to ourselves is fundamentally important to our sense of self-esteem and well-being. In therapy this sort of kindness is now commonly referred to as self-compassion, a concept drawn from Buddhism.

As RuPaul says in every one of his shows: ‘If you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?’.

To have a low opinion of yourself not only means you will be conflicted within yourself, but that you won’t feel deserving of the love of others. So it will affect your ability to have satisfactory relationships. It will make you feel over-anxious about what others think of you and may mean you allow them to treat you without respect.

Feeling bad about yourself may also make you feel awkward in social situations and therefore make others feel awkward as well. Hence you will establish a vicous circle where the fact that others disrespect you or feel uncomfortable in your company justifies and reinforces you dislike of yourself.

Offering yourself compassion is a way of breaking this cycle and The Self-Compassion Wheel above provides some ways in which you can start to do this.

Learning to develop a self-compassionate attitude takes time. It’s easier to say ‘I’m not meant to be perfect, I’m human’ than it is to really believe it. But learning to talk to yourself in a more compassionate way and to forgive yourself for what you regard as faults will begin to break the habit of negative thinking.

Tell yourself ‘if I were to take a compassionate point of view, what would I be saying to myself’. You’re not committing to that view-point yet, because that would be too far outside your comfort zone, but you are at least acknowledging the possibility of that alternative view-point.

As we’ve said elsewhere on this site, consider what you would say to a good friend who was experiencing similar thoughts and feelings. It would probably be much kinder than the sorts of things you are saying to yourself now.

  • Julian & Michaela

It's easy to tell who's happiest in this graphic - human being or dog - and just as easy also to tell the reason why.

Whilst the human being is preoccupied with a hundred different day-to-day problems the dog is enjoying the simple pleasures of nature - trees, a clear blue sky and sunshine. One is caught up in the clutter of their own thoughts and the other is fully present in the world.

This simple graphic conveys well the torment which we inflict upon ourselves when we allow our minds to become overloaded with day-to-day worries and concerns.. It contrasts this with the sense of freedom, spaciousness and clarity which can come from living more fully in the moment.

Overthinking is a problem that troubles many of our clients, particularly those who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Somehow we feel we have to hold on to all those preoccupations in order to remain in charge and stop our world spinning out of control.

But by overloading our brains we risk losing our sense of perspective and our capacity to take pleasure in life. We become vulnerable to stress, low-mood and increased feelings of anxiety.

Learning to be more mindful, rather than always having a mind that is full, is not as easy as it looks. It requires practice, self-discipline and effort. It's also about self-care, which some of us are not very good at.

But the benefits are there to be seen in the graphic, without the need of all these words to explain them!